Autumn Expedition Cruise to Svalbard from Dover
- The Norwegian Coast from Bergen to the North Cape and Svalbard on one expedition
- Spend 11 nights chasing the Northern Lights above the Arctic Circle
- Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice
- Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurants Aune and Fredheim
- Fine-dining À la carte restaurant Lindstrøm is included for suite guests
- Complimentary tea and coffee
- Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with limited connection. Streaming is not supported.
- Complimentary reusable water bottle to fill at onboard water refill stations
- English-speaking Expedition Team who organize and guide activities, both on board and ashore
- Range of included activities
- Experts from the Expedition Team present detailed lectures on a variety of topics
- Use of the ship’s Science Center which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes
- The Citizen Science program allows guests to contribute to current scientific research
- The onboard professional photographer will give tips and tricks for taking the best landscape and wildlife photos
- The ship has hot tubs, a panoramic sauna, and outdoor and indoor gyms
- Participate in informal gatherings with the crew, such as daily recaps and the next day’s preparations
- Escorted landings with small boats (RIBs)
- Trekking poles, head lamps, and walking poles are available, if necessary
- Complimentary wind- and water-resistant expedition jacket
- Expedition photographers will help configure your camera settings before landings
- International flights
- Travel protection
- Baggage handling
- Optional shore excursions with our local partners
- Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team
- Optional treatments in the onboard wellness and spa area
- All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions
- Excursions and activities are subject to change
- Please ensure you can meet all entry and boarding requirements
- No gratuities are expected
Northern Exposure - Dover, UK
All aboard at Dover! MS Maud is here, ready and waiting to bring you north toward Norway and ultimately Svalbard – the realm of the polar bear.
If you’ve time, take a walk alongside or atop the iconic white cliffs of Dover that have become a symbol for England. One of the best places to do so is at St. Margaret’s Bay which offers great views of the chalky coastline from its wide shingle beach.
Once on board the ship, you’ll pick up your complimentary expedition jacket, settle into your cabin, explore the ship and attend a mandatory safety drill. After the first of many delicious dinners and a welcome toast by the Captain, you’ll meet your expert Expedition Team.
They are your knowledgeable lecturers, warm hosts, and good-natured guides throughout your journey. First and foremost though, they are there to keep you safe and well. They’ll be making it a priority to run through important health and safety aspects with you and your fellow guests.
When the ship sets sail, we’ll pass the white cliffs of Dover and head up to the North Sea. Stretch your sea legs and get to know MS Maud, your cosy home away from home. If the weather holds, take in the salubrious sea air from out on deck.
Or park yourself in the Explorer Lounge and Bar to watch the world go by from the panoramic windows, maybe together with a relaxing glass of wine. Your adventure to the Norwegian coast and Svalbard is officially underway!
Norway Bound - At sea
This day at sea gives you all the time you’ll need to ease into your journey. Start enjoying the range of onboard facilities such as the hot tubs, the sauna, and the indoor gym. But you’ll likely also be striking up conversations with the Expedition Team members as well as other crew members and guests.
The Expedition Team will begin their series of insightful lectures over in the Science Center. Each member of the Expedition Team specializes in a different subject. You’ll see that they are treasure troves of stories and information.
They’ll share their extensive knowledge about the places, history, nature, people, and natural phenomena we’ll likely encounter during this winter voyage along the Norwegian coast. Today’s topics might include Norway’s climate, the weather along the North Sea, or Hurtigruten’s history as a Norwegian national icon.
The City of Seven Mountains - Bergen, Norway
Depending on the weather when crossing the North Sea, we aim to arrive in Bergen in the evening to have time to enjoy and explore this beautiful city. Founded in 1070 A.D., Bergen was Norway’s capital for many years. You’ll see that the city hasn’t lost any of its local character, heritage, or charm.
Your included activity in Bergen is an excursion to Mount Fløyen. We’ll hop on Hurtigruten buses from where the ship docks and drive to the Fløibanen funicular (cable car). The ride to the mountaintop takes just six minutes. The summit is over 1,000 feet up, and you can bask in stunning views of city and its surroundings: seven mountains and the sea.
Back in the center of the thriving and compact city of Bergen, spend time strolling along its cobblestone streets and alleyways. Want to taste a local specialty? Drop into one of the many cafés or pubs and order a half-liter of local Hansa beer.
Don’t miss the historic UNESCO-listed Bryggen district, with colorful wooden houses along the wharf. This area dates back to the 14th century and now houses boutique stores selling Norwegian arts and handicrafts.
An outpost on Norway’s west coast - Kalvåg, Norway
We welcome you to the little fishing village of Kalvåg, situated far out on the coastline with the open North Sea to the west. In the 1860s, it was one of the largest, if not the largest, fishery on the Norwegian Coast, with as many as 11,000 people stationed there.
Today, only about 400 people remain, but it’s still the best-preserved fishing village in western Norway. No other expedition ships visit Kalvåg, so you’ll experience an authentic slice-of-life community who will likely be thrilled to have visitors.
Our captains have sailed these waters as part of our traditional Norwegian coastal voyages for decades, and always wished there was time to stop and show you more of this charming village. We’ve listened to their expert recommendation and that’s exactly what you’ll do on this expedition cruise.
Admire an open-air art exhibition and walk around Kalvåg’s collection of old waterfront buildings, ranging from restored wooden wharfs to warehouses for salting herring. You can also take optional excursions such as hiking in the area or kayaking.
Expedition day - Frøya, Hitra, Smøla region, Norway
Today you’ll explore the area around the windswept islands of mid-Norway, off the coast of Trøndelag. The islands facing the North Sea stand in stark contrast to the sheltered fjords, as you will see from the small trees here, bent by the strong wind.
This is the heart of the Norwegian coast, both geographically and culturally. The beautiful city of Trondheim used to be the country’s capital. King Olav, later beatified as Saint Olav, is buried in the city’s Nidaros Cathedral, inspired by Notre Dame. King Olav met his glorious end during a battle at Stiklestad, also found along Trøndelag’s coast. His martyrdom paved the way for Norway’s conversion from Paganism to Christianity.
When Hurtigruten started sailing north of Trøndelag in 1893, much was still unknown about the coastline. Over the years, we’ve become experts in these waters. Today, we are the only ones with the knowledge and skill to guide you through its skerries and islets, fjord after fjord.
Our plan is to explore one of the islands in this area. As can be expected in an authentic adventure, the weather will determine our exact route and activities. If the weather is pleasant, we’ll explore the islands along the coast. If not, we can head into one of the sheltered bays.
Once the elements have dictated our destination for the day, we’ll drop anchor and use our small boats (RIBs) to land ashore. If conditions are right, you’ll be able to go hiking or kayaking as an optional excursion—or possibly even both.
Frøya is one of the possible islands we could explore. Many kinds of seabirds like to rest, nest, and winter in this area, including seagulls, cormorants, ducks, and sea eagles. If we get to go ashore, you may also see seals, mink, otter, hare and deer.
Far out at sea - Træna, Norway
In the morning, we sail along the coast of Helgeland with nothing but sky and sea ahead. In the distance, you can see mountains rise from the horizon. This is Træna, an archipelago of over 400 islands and islets right on the Arctic Circle. We plan to go on a scenic walk around the village of Husøya where most of Træna’s 454 inhabitants live.
Surprisingly, the community on the islands has a Nordic-Hawaiian vibe. This is inspired by decades-long correspondence between a local man who settled in Honolulu and the sister he never met in back in Træna. There is a permanent outdoor photography exhibition, themed café, and even a local ‘Waikiki Beach’.
Similar to Hawaiians, Norwegians believe in the life philosophy of friluftsliv – a respect for nature and a love of the outdoors. Being on an expedition with us is the best time not just to learn about this ideal, but to live it. And Træna is a perfect place for you to try a host of optional excursions.
Optional excursions might include island hopping, enjoying a sauna in an old boat house, observing sea eagles, tasting local fish or bathing in the Norwegian Sea. Or perhaps hike through a 700-metre-long tunnel in the dark, emerging at the top of the mountain for views of the entire Helgeland coast if the weather is clear.
There’s also Kirkhellern ‘Cathedral’ Cave on the island of Sanna. The acoustics make it ideal for a number of outdoor concerts but the main draw is archaeological evidence of human life in the cave as far back as 9,000 years ago.
As we leave Træna, we enjoy the evening with the dramatic Helgeland coastline as a backdrop. Listen to lectures from the Expedition Team on possible subjects like the Northern Lights, first settlements of Norway, Norwegian myths and fairy tales, or the Arctic Circle.
Cod: The fish that built Norway - Svolvær, Norway
There are just a few places on Earth where you can sail north of the Arctic Circle during wintertime. The Norwegian coast is one of them The ship will officially cross into the Arctic Circle during the night, and true to our traditions, we’ll mark this occasion with a ceremony on deck.
Then we’ll approach the Lofoten Islands, one of the most spectacular locations in all of Norway—and maybe even the world. The sight of the massive wall of mountains and dramatic peaks rising up out of the sea is something you’ll never forget. Serene fishing villages sit nestled in sheltered coves, which are even more charming with the Northern Lights swirling above.
We’ll arrive in Svolvær in the morning. This is the largest town in Lofoten, with about 4,800 residents, many of whom still work in the fishing industry. There are shops and art galleries to browse along the seafront promenade, and rows of traditional rorbuer (fishing huts) to admire.
You’ll likely spot the wooden racks called hjell dotting the shores of the town. These racks are used to dry locally caught cod, which then becomes tørrfisk (stockfish in English), which is prized as a local delicacy. Fishing is clearly an important way of life in Lofoten. The lecture for the day may focus on how cod helped build Norway into a country.
From the ship, it’s a short walk to your included visit to the multicolored Magic Ice bar. The former fish-freezing warehouse now displays a range of picturesque, selfie-suitable ice sculptures depicting life in Lofoten and Viking culture. Enjoy a signature drink to warm you up—served in an ice glass, of course!
The Gateway to the Arctic - Tromsø, Norway
We aim to reach the city of Tromsø, the ‘Capital of the Arctic’, in the early morning. We–ll spend the entire day and evening exploring its captivating history, culture, and bold architecture.
One of the most striking landmarks in Tromsø is the Arctic Cathedral, especially when it’s lit up at night. Its eye-catching, massive stained-class window and modern architecture are well worth seeing up close.
Historically, Tromsø was a frontier town visited mostly by hunters and explorers, and acted as a launch point for several Arctic expeditions. Today, the city has been called the ‘Paris of the North’, because of its international and cultural diversity.
Browse its shops or try one of its many restaurants to sample the region’s fresh and locally sourced foods. Feel like meeting some of the friendly locals? Tromsø is home to the world’s northernmost brewery, Mack Bryggeri, which also runs Ølhallen, a lively pub filled with locals chatting and enjoying a pint or two.
Your included activity in Tromsø is a visit to the Polar Museum, which is housed in a converted 1830s warehouse on the seafront. You’ll enjoy exhibitions that cover the city’s heritage as a base for the famous trappers Henry Rudi and Wanny Wolstad. Wanny was the first female hunter in Svalbard. Tromsø also played a crucial role in the expeditions of legendary explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen.
Other activities available in Tromsø include optional excursions with our Expedition Team on nature hikes and scenic bus rides. This far north, you may actually see the Northern Lights directly overhead, so spending time on deck when we leave town may prove truly rewarding.
To the top of the world - Skarsvåg, Norway
Start the day by arriving at the small town of Skarsvåg. You’ll now visit one of the northernmost points in Europe as part of an included excursion.
The scenic bus ride passes small bays and tiny villages, then crosses a mountain plateau before arriving at spectacular North Cape. At 71°10’21´N, it is just 2,100 kilometres away from the Geographic North Pole, with only the Svalbard Archipelago in between.
Stand at the cliff’s edge and gaze out across the sparkling sea. The North Cape is the closest you may ever get to the top of the world. There’s the obligatory selfie at the Globe Monument to snap before visiting the North Cape Hall for several exhibits and a short film which chronicle the history of the cape.
Your included visit to the North Cape can also be combined with experiences on the island of Magerøya. As this is the home of many fishermen, the local restaurants have the best ingredients available for seafood dishes, and king crabs are available all year round.
This is also the home to hundreds of sea eagles, who congregate in large numbers around the bird rocks of Gjesværstappan. You can explore the fishing village at your leisure, or you can join the Expedition Team on an optional hike to “Kirkeporten” view point.
'Bear Island’ without the bears - Outside Bjørnøya
Roughly midway between the Norwegian mainland and the island of Spitsbergen, you’ll arrive at Bjørnøya (Bear Island, in English). Don’t get too excited about the name, though. The island is more renown for the birdlife that flock here over summer rather than any sightings of polar bears.
Except for a small area hosting a meteorological station established in 1918, the entire island is a nature reserve. The island’s northern and middle areas are mainly flat and dominated by shallow lakes—there are approximately 1,200 of them scattered around. The landscape becomes more mountainous farther south on the island, with Misery Mountain peaking at 1,758 ft
The views of the Bear Island coast are simply spectacular! The constant surf has forged several striking rock columns and caves. The coastal cave of Perleporten is immediately recognizable. Tall, near-vertical cliffs engulf the southern tip of the island, making for fantastic views.
Wind and weather conditions permitting, we may go ashore for hikes and do small-boat (RIB) cruising. You may even be able to go kayaking in an optional activity.
South Spitsbergen National Park - Burgerbukta, Svalbard
Today you’ll explore the varied landscape and interesting geology of Hornsund, a part of South Spitsbergen National Park.
The park’s rugged and steep mountains, breathtaking fjords, and lush and colorful vegetation make it one of the most spectacular natural corners of the world. A layer of mist covers most of the highest peaks, but on a clear day, you may see the towering Hornsundtind, reaching almost 4,700 feet above sea level.
One of the possible lecture topics on this day is the mighty polar bear. That’s not a coincidence—the chance to see a polar bear is another reason visiting Hornsund is so special. Keep an eye out for other animals, too, such as walrus, seals, reindeer, and Arctic fox.
The natural beauty of Hornsund is not within easy reach of traditional cruise ships, which tend to pass it by. Our custom-made expedition vessels allow us to attempt landings where other ships can’t. This gives us a better chance of seeing the 15-mile long Hornsund up close.
Depending on weather and sea ice, there are also optional excursions to enjoy, such as hiking, kayaking, and small-boat (RIB) cruising to enjoy.
Second-longest fjord in Svalbard - The Isfjord area, Svalbard
Get into explorer mode, because today you sail into the remarkable Isfjord, the second-longest fjord in Svalbard. Leading to many smaller fjords, it forms a lush and beautiful environment rich in wildlife and vegetation. Prepare to see immense U-shaped valleys carved out of the mountains by giant glaciers some 10,000 years ago.
Alkehornet is a prominent landmark north of the fjord. It’s an imposing example of carbonate rock, with a horn-shaped peak. You can spot Arctic fox here, as well as the stately Svalbard reindeer.
It is astounding how well the traces of early human presence have been preserved in the Isfjord. Cultural remains of Svalbard’s whaling and hunting heritage can be found along the beaches and bays.
A more modern cultural icon is located further south of the fjords. Here lies the famous Isfjord Radio station and its auxiliary buildings. This former radio and weather station was established in 1933 and now serves as one of the most beautifully situated hotels in the world.
The landscape of the inner parts of the Isfjord is constantly changing, but we have several good landing sites in this area. Based on the weather and ice conditions, we will decide where to go and what to do when we arrive.
Beauty and history in one - Bellsund, Svalbard
Not to be confused with its narrower cousin, the fjord, Bellsund is a 20 km long sound. Sounds tend to be wider than fjords and are usually formed by the flooding of river valleys.
Seeing the sound’s snow-capped mountains, glaciers and striking geological formations, you’d be forgiven to think that the name ‘Bellsund’ means ‘beautiful sound’. However, Bellsund actually borrows its name from the bell-shaped mountain Klokkefjellet at the mouth of the sound.
You might catch sight of migrating Svalbard reindeer, grazing the lush vegetation that is richly fertilised by droppings from the seabirds above - just the circle of life at work!
Bellsund has a long history with hunting and trapping, and these traditions are being kept alive still at Akseløya. One of the stories the expedition team may recount in the hunters and trappers lecture is that of 1930s Wanny Woldstad – a taxi driver who became the first female arctic trapper.
Cultural remains from other periods of Svalbard’s history can be seen throughout Bellsund. The ruins from the 1900s mining settlements are still visible, and you can see them as we spend the day exploring the area in landings, hikes and optional kayaking activities, if weather conditions allow.
Southward once more - At sea
Your discovery of Svalbard is over, and we have started our journey back south. We’ll cross the Barents Sea, named after the Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz, who discovered Spitsbergen and Bear Island.
Unwind in the Explorer Lounge & Bar, soak in the hot tub, or simply contemplate the vast and endless horizon. When darkness falls and if the sky is clear, there is a good chance of experiencing the dancing Northern Lights above.
Hungry for more knowledge? The Expedition Team will continue its onboard lecture series, possibly talking about the battle of the Barents Sea during World War II.
Spend some time in the Science Center and possibly learn some useful expedition photography tricks to capture the Aurora with your camera.
Norway in miniature - Senja, Norway
Today we dock at Senja, one of the most ruggedly beautiful and rarely visited islands in Norway. This scenery will leave you awestruck and you’ll understand why it made CNN Travel’s list of ’10 of the world’s most beautiful islands’.
The captain will decide where to drop anchor or which port we can dock and go ashore for walks. Optional excursions may include guided hikes or kayaking. Should the weather be rough on the outer coastal side, we’ll seek a bit more shelter in a bay or inlet.
Sometimes referred to as ‘Norway in miniature’, the island’s diverse landscapes seem to change in the blink of an eye. Senja’s northern coastline features lofty mountains that plummet straight into the sea, with isolated coves and sandy beaches along crystal-clear turquoise waters.
Southern Senja boasts a rocky coastline and pine forests, and is home to Ånderdalen National Park. Senja’s eastern side has gentler, more forgiving landscapes, with rolling hills and birch forests.
‘Black ice’ - Svartisen, Helgeland, Norway
We’ll sail the Holandsfjord today, off the Helgeland Coast, and will arrive at Svartisen. Covering 143 square miles, it has 60 glacier tongues and is Norway’s second largest glacier, after Jostedalsbreen.
Svartisen is actually made up of two separate glaciers: Vestisen and Østisen. These are divided by the half-mile-long Vesterdalen Vlley.
‘Svartisen’ means ‘black ice’, which is a pretty good description for the deep colors of the ice, which can range from turquoise to dark blue—never quite black, though.
Despite being the lowest-lying glacier on the European continent before the last Ice Age retreat, Svartisen is surrounded by the Saltfjell mountain range, one of the largest in Norway. You might spot the mountains, towering almost 5,000 feet high: Snøtinden in the west, and Sniptinden and Istinden in the east.
Our aim today is to land on the local jetty and visit the Svartisen Glacier Museum. You’ll also have opportunities to participate in optional excursions near the glacier and its surroundings. From Svartisen, you’ll also see the Engen Glacier, Engenbreen, which can be reached on an extended optional excursion hike.
The dried cod capital of Norway - Kristiansund, Norway
We dock at Kristiansund, one of the most densely populated cities in Norway. Its urban area is spread across four islands. The city boasts bustling waterfronts, scenic marinas, and distinctive architecture decorated in shades of red, yellow, and green.
Kristiansund is also known as Norway’s ‘Dried Cod Capital’ because of its historic export of the salted fish known in some places as bacalao and locally as klippfisk. If this topic sparks your interest, head to the local Norwegian Bacalao Museum, housed in a 250-year-old building.
You’ll go on a guided walking tour and experience all this small city has to offer. There are also optional excursions to enjoy, including kayaking with local guides or a hike with the Expedition Team.
Another optional excursion is a five-mile scenic drive along the famous Atlantic Ocean Road, whose eight uniquely designed, undulating bridges link a series of islands.
Exceptional natural beauty - Outside – Urke/Sæbø, Norway
Like the famous Geirangerfjord next door, Hjørundfjord is part of the UNESCO-designated Fjords Norway area, which is notable for ‘exceptional natural beauty’. Surrounded by the Sunnmøre Alps, with peaks soaring over 5,500 feet straight up from the sea, it’s one of the most scenic fjords in all of Norway and still undiscovered by most other cruise lines.
On a clear day, you’ll receive a full 360° sensory experience: the bluest skies, the coniferous forests in fall foliage, and pastures for grazing covering the mountainsides. The still, pristine water reflect this superb scenery in all its glory, perfectly merging the fjord and the landscape.
We will anchor a settlement in the fjord, possibly Urke. A local tender boat will take you ashore to experience Norwegian nature and culture.
Sign up for optional excursions to further explore the area. You can join a guided walk through villages along the Hjørundfjord and learn about the history, nature, and royal connections of this splendid and gorgeous place.
Or, raise your pulse on exhilarating excursions such as hiking up the mountain for incredible views. Or kayak the fjord, where exquisite silence is broken only by your paddle dipping into its waters.
The longest fjord in Norway - Outside Fjærland, Norway
In the morning, we sail into the Sognefjord, nicknamed the ‘King of the Fjords’, as it is the longest and deepest fjord in Norway. Stretching 127 miles inland from the coast, we plan to cruise deep into the fjord to the tiny hamlet of Fjærland.
Only 300 people live here. Ashore, you’ll discover this idyllic village with many charming old buildings. Fjærland is a designated Norwegian Book Town. Picturesque second-hand book shops and stands can be found all over the small village. Fjærland is not only about books, though.
This is where the Sognefjord meets Jostedalsbreen, one of Norway’s best-known glaciers. It’s the largest glacier on the European continent and has several smaller glacial arms stretching out in many directions, including Bøyabreen and Supphellebreen.
This makes Fjærland the perfect place to learn about how glaciers created Norway’s beautiful fjords, making a visit to the Norwegian Glacier Museum a perfect included activity for the day.
At this award-winning museum, designed by world famous architect Sverre Fehn, you’ll engage with hands-on exhibits explaining why glacier ice is blue and how the fjords were formed. You can even perform a few experiments with 1,000 year-old glacier ice and watch a panoramic film about Europe’s largest glacier.
The beauty of Ryfylke - Lysefjord, Norway
In the early morning, we’ll reach the Stavanger area and the day’s highlight: Lysefjord. It’s 25 miles long, up to 1,384 feet deep, and boasts some of the most striking vertical cliffs of all the Norwegian fjords.
We’ll sail as deep as possible into the imposing Lysefjord, toward the iconic viewpoint at Preikestolen. Preikestolen, also known as Pulpit Rock, is probably the most famous tourist attraction in Norway.
Hopefully we’ll be treated to a fine view of this incredible rock formation from below as we approach Preikestolen. We might also see the renown Kjæragbolten, where a giant boulder seems precariously wedged in a mountain crevasse.
If conditions allow, we recommend taking the optional excursion to the Preikestolen viewpoint with the Expedition Team. This five-hour guided hike takes you nearly 2,000 feet above Lysefjord.
If you prefer to hang out on the ship, head out to the deck to bask in the magnificent scenery and admire the majestic mountains towering above you.
Following a scenic cruise of the fjord and collecting our tired-but-exhilarated hikers, we’ll set sail for Dover, leaving the fjords, islands, and eventually the Norwegian coast behind.
Relax and unwind - At sea
Sadly, it’s our last day at sea and our adventure is drawing to a close. As we cross the North Sea, keep an eye out for seabirds and dolphins that like to follow the ship.
Make the most of your day at sea aboard MS Maud. Soak in the hot tub, work out in the gym, or relax in the Explorer Lounge.
Don’t miss the Expedition Team as they review the highlights of your memorable fall expedition cruise to the Svalbard Archipelago and the Norwegian coast.
Return to England - Dover, U.K.
We pass the White Cliffs of Dover in the early morning hours and dock at the city’s harbor. After breakfast, you’ll say goodbye to your home for the past 21 days.
Your greatest souvenirs will be your unforgettable memories of Svalbard and Norway’s magnificent fjords along the coast.
Dover is the gateway to the English countryside, the lush counties of Kent and Surrey, and beyond that, the melting pot of London. Before leaving the area, consider visiting Dover Castle, said to be the largest castle in England.
There is also a rare Roman lighthouse here, one of only three in the world and reputedly the U.K.’s oldest building. You can also take a tour of the underground hospital and secret World War II tunnels that run beneath the castle complex.
Whatever’s next for you, we wish you a safe onward journey and look forward to seeing you on your next adventure!